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Zambia

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ZMB
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Zambie
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Zambia
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Main Agency Acronym(s): 
ZARI

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Zambia: ASTI–ZARI Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Nienke Beintema, Rhoda Mumba, Moses Mwala, and Lang Gao

Year:
2016

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and Zambia Agriculture Research Institute

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Zambia

Further information

Donor-led investment growth

Despite decreasing government funding, agricultural research spending in Zambia grew by 70 percent during 2008–2014 as a result of a large influx of funding through a World Bank loan, associated with APPSA, and additional donor contributions. Despite this strong growth, as of 2014 Zambia only invested 0.51 percent of its AgGDP in agricultural research, half the 1 percent minimum recommended by the African Union and the United Nations.

Donor dependency at ZARI

Government support to ZARI mostly covers the cost of salaries and day-today operations. ZARI has successfully secured funding through regional competitive research programs and donor grants. It has received a World Bank loan of US$30 million through APPSA, which targets research on legumes, maize, rice, and sorghum. Still the government will need to raise its financial support if the country’s agricultural research system is to avoid a severe decline at the conclusion of APPSA.

Training the next generation

In 2014, only 14 percent of Zambia’s agricultural researchers were trained to the PhD level. The provision of local postgraduate training remains limited, so most MSc and PhD training is undertaken abroad. APPSA has included a significant training compenent (15 PhD, 40 MSc, and 40 BSc degrees), although the areas of focus are limited to legumes and, hence, do not necessarily address the disciplines in which ZARI has gaps.

Limited private sector involvement

In the late 1990s, the government and foreign donors focused on increasing the role of privately performed agricultural research. Two nonprofit organizations were established, GART and CDT. In particular, GART—which focuses on crop and livestock technologies to improve smallholder productivity— increased its capacity to 15 FTE researchers in 2008. Funding and capacity have dwindled since then, because most of the donor-funded projects were completed. As of 2014, the four nonprofit and for-profit agencies involved in agricultural research employed a total of 16 FTE researchers.

Benchmarking Agricultural Research Investment and Capacity Indicators Across Southern African Countries

Total investments in public agricultural R&D in the Southern African countries included in this study increased slightly from the 1990s to 2008. Overall, the 2001–08 investment growth in these countries was lower than average growth in other subregions of the continent. With the exception of Tanzania, public research spending growth stagnated or was negative. However, agricultural research in the middle-income countries of South Africa, Mauritius, Namibia, and Botswana was comparatively well-funded by their national governments. These countries outperformed other subregions, as well as neighboring lower income countries, in many key areas. They are less dependent on donor contributions and development bank loans than are the subregion’s low-income countries which have been subject to funding volatility associated with fluctuating allocations and disbursement schedules.

Overall agricultural research staffing in the SADC countries has also grown slightly since the 1990s, but not as much as countries in other subregions of Africa. Corresponding to the high agricultural investment intensity ratios, the middle- income countries have high ratios of agricultural researchers to agricultural laborers. South Africa in particular leads the subregion with its well-established agricultural research agencies and universities. In 2008, South Africa employed the highest share of PhD-qualified research staff among the SADC countries (46 percent).

Strengthening research capacity continues to be a challenge in most of the Southern African countries, and the lack of local PhD programs particularly limits training in Botswana and Namibia. Agricultural researchers in Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe are among the least highly qualified in SSA given that about half are qualified to the BSc level only. Other countries, such as Madagascar and Tanzania, employ an aging pool of researchers as a consequence of long-term government recruitment freezes, so recently recruited staff are young, less qualified, and often have limited training opportunities.

Zambia: ASTI Country Brief

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Beintema, Nienke M.; Castelo-Magalhaes, Eduardo; Elliott, Howard; Mwala, Mick

Year:
2004

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Zambia

Zambia’s agricultural research sector has undergone significant reform in recent years in attempts to increase effectiveness, cut costs, build capacity, attract new sources of funding—especially from the private sector—and ultimately reach out to and support small farmers, who dominate the country’s agricultural sector. These changes were largely effected through two consecutive World Bank projects.

Certain undertakings did not have the desired effect, such as reducing staffing levels at SCRB in attempts to enhance working conditions and raise salary levels per researcher to compete with other national agencies for well-qualified staff. Without the appropriate training and competitive salary packages, SCRB’s research staff was halved in the 1990s, leaving the branch with a high proportion of vacant positions.
A related negative outcome was reduced donor funding to established government agencies like SCRB in favor of smaller, often project-based support, which cut the country’s overall public funding for agricultural research to unsustainable levels. On the other hand, the establishment of four research trusts in the late 1990s (GART, CDT, LDT, and LADT) has proven successful in encouraging public–private partnerships, improving the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of research, and  developing opportunities for nongovernment funding.

Zambia: ASTI Country Note

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Flaherty, Kathleen; Mwala, Mick

Year:
2010

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Zambia

Long-term trends indicate a serious decline in investment in agricultural R&D in Zambia. Public agricultural R&D spending fell to an historical low of 18 billion kwacha or 7 million PPP dollars in 2005 (both in 2005 constant prices), compared with 52 billion kwacha or 22 million PPP dollars per year on average during the 1990s. Although expenditures recovered slightly in 2007, spending was still low in 2008.

The combined effects of a government-sector hiring freeze and lack of training opportunities resulted in significant erosion of research staff capacity. Although staffing levels increased to 209 FTE researchers in 2008, the composition shifted towards junior rather than senior researchers, meaning those holding BSc rather than PhD degrees. ZARI was particularly affected by a reduction in the number of PhD-qualified researchers.

In addition to training and capacity limitations, ZARI and the other government research agencies have also faced challenges in supporting the operating and capital costs associated with research. A number of needs have been identified at ZARI, such as infrastructure, laboratory equipment, communication facilities, and vehicles. Delays and reductions in the disbursement of budgeted funding from both the  national government and foreign donors continue to constrain the efficient management of research funding.

Although GART has been successful in generating funding through the sales of goods and services, as well as attracting donor funding and strengthening linkages with UNZA, other trusts within the nonprofit sector have not fared as well. They were originally created for the purpose of increasing the flexibility and efficiency of research funding and management, in addition to promoting public–private partnerships. They, however, still depend on national government funding and have yet to meet the expectations of their mandate.

Although the recent rise in the number of agricultural researchers is positive—as is the upgrade of ZARI to a ministerial department, and increased investment under ADSP since 2007— Zambia’s agricultural R&D agencies are still contending with the effects of long-term underinvestment and continue to struggle with funding issues that hinder their ability to contribute more effectively to the country’s agricultural and economic development.


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